The Nanny State's "Bill of Rights"



How debased is the term "Bill of Rights" in modern legislative parlance? This debased–California's Assembly has passed, and its Senate is considering, a "Domestic Worker's Bill of Rights." Unlike the original Bill of Rights, which placed limitations on what government to do its citizens, AB 889 demonstrates that government nowadays recognizes few if any bounds at all. Here's how State Sen. Doug LaMalfa (R-Redding) characterizes it:  

Under AB 889, household "employers" (aka "parents") who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers' compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck.

Failure to abide by any of these provisions may result in a legal cause of action against the employer including cumulative penalties, attorneys' fees, legal costs and expenses associated with hiring expert witnesses, an unprecedented measure of legal recourse provided no other class of workers – from agricultural laborers to garment manufacturers. (On the bright side, language requiring an hour of paid vacation time for every 30 hours worked was amended out of the bill in the Senate.)

As the part-time employer of a nanny (who we pay $15 an hour, including vacation weeks back when she was at or over half-time), I found this section of the bill to be more fetal-position-inducing than edible hallucinogens:

Of course, man is dangerous, of all of the animals

Every employer shall, semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages, furnish each of his or her employees, either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee's wages, or separately when wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized statement in writing showing (1) gross wages earned, (2) total hours worked by the employee, except for any employee whose compensation is solely based on a salary and who is exempt from payment of overtime under subdivision (a) of Section 515 or any applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, (3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis, (4) all

No alt text required

deductions, provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item, (5) net wages earned, (6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid, (7) the name of the employee and his or her social security number, except that by January 1, 2008, only the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number may be shown on the itemized statement, (8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer, and (9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee. The deductions made from payments of wages shall be recorded in ink or other indelible form, properly dated, showing the month, day, and year, and a copy of the statement or a record of the deductions shall be kept on file by the employer for at least three years at the place of employment or at a central location within the State of California.


To show you where the Golden State's political culture is at, the SF Weekly as a result approvingly proclaimed 2011 as "California's Year of the Nanny." Though New York did get there first.

LaMalfa link via the Twitter feed of Radley Balko.

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  1. How fast can the legislature of CA drive the entire population of CA to TX? Pretty fast, it seems.

    1. Yeah, but then those retarded fucks keep voting like Californians.

      Pro Tip for Blue Staters: The reason your economy sucks is you, and your politicians! Stop voting for those fucks.

      1. Stop voting and go do some fucking work


      2. Paraphrasing Douglass Adam: But if we don’t vote, the wrong fucktards will get elected.

      3. I think that tip applies to Red Staters too.

    2. Driving from New Hampshire into Maine this weekend, I was amused at the series of road signs warning those Free State anarchists that Maine has rules, damn it!
      “No Fireworks!”
      “Seatbelts required!”
      “Maine treats drunk driving SERIOUSLY!”

      1. As if Maine enforces anything. One of the reasons I used to love going to Maine for vacation was that there were no cops, anywhere, out in the boonies. I mean, none. You could drive drunk, shoot off guns, blow shit up, whatever you wanted.

        1. The ghost of Hunter Thompson would approve of that…

        2. Same thing goes in Nevada. I’ve occasionally run into a game cop, but not very often. Only thing is you have to be more careful not to set off a massive fire.

  2. The result will be exactly the same as when CA killed off Amazon’s associate program: less income; that is, less overall tax revenues.

    Just buffoons.

    1. And people either won’t hire a nanny to avoid the rules or they will hire an illegal. That will help things.

      1. or they will hire an illegal

        but that’s EVEN MORE PAPERWORK.

      2. Or they’ll hire someone under 18. California Democrats support child labor, apparently.

        1. 18 year old girls really should switch from babysitting to porn anyway.

    2. Ditto that. Now I have to pay my cleaning lady. Under the table.

      1. Will you also be receiving services under the table from your cleaning lady?

    3. Kinda-sorta like North Carolina losing out on all those Boeing jobs, in an OT kind of way…

      1. Old Testament kind of way?

  3. Where’s al qaeda when you need ’em?

  4. As the part-time employer of a nanny…

    Part time? So you don’t get any bennies with that.

    Is the voter block of sitters actually larger than the parent voting constituency? Is this an attempt to dissuade people from eating out? Or, perhaps, procreating.

    1. I’ll bet sitters just got swept up in legistlation that was meant for nannies, housekeepers and governesses (do these still exist?).

      I’ll also bet that dog-walkers and cat-“walkers” got swept up in this legislation too.

      1. I’ll also bet that dog-walkers and cat-“walkers” got swept up in this legislation too.

        We’ll fix that problem by banning all dog and cat slaveowners.

  5. God DAMN, I get tired of politicians using “Bill of Rights” for every f*cking issue that comes down the pike, when they wipe their ass with the ACTUAL Bill of Rights.

    Yeah, it’s a sore spot with me, thanks for listening.

    1. “Terms of Enslavement” would be a more accurate description of this crap.

      1. I like this. Well, not the enslavement, but your cleverness referring to it…

        1. Slavery is Freedom, remember.

          1. It’s another word for nothing left to lose.

      2. I still prefer the hit film, “Terms of Enrampagement”

        1. Its a working title…


            1. BOW CHICKA KOW Right in the face!

        2. I know where you got that – and I like it!

  6. By making things so damn difficult that people say “Fuck this!” and don’t hire anyone, government creates jobs.

  7. And we’re shocked – SHOCKED – that “black markets” [RACIST!!] continue to exist in just about everything that gummint touches…

    Bring on that peaceful anarchy that David E. Gallagher keeps talking about…

    1. Bring on that peaceful anarchy that David E. Gallagher keeps talking about…

      SShhhhhh! You’ll summon White Indian and the thread will go full retard.

      1. I heartily approve of the actions taken by the State of California to bring a prompt end to the employment of these oppressed babysitters.

  8. You would think the restaurant association would go ape over this.

    I would expect to mean parents go out for dinner a lot less, after all.

    But, this seems to be the sort of thing that lots of Californians just love, since they never seem to punish their rulers for doing it. Perhaps when CA completes its descent into second-class status, some people at least will take a lesson.

    1. Nah. CA is a net exporter of stupid. Although, thanks to this debt shit, I have an instant card to play whenever one of them gets uppity about how great Cali is.

      1. I just want to know why California has been kicked out of the union. Are they still mining gold there?

          1. We need them for filmmaking, nu-metal and gangsta rap.

            1. Nu-metal was over at least 5 years ago man. Nobody wanted it even when it was around.

              1. You lie!!!

              2. Nu-metal was a scourge upon the earth.

  9. Also, White Injun blames [AGRI]culture, but I blame Bush.

  10. I like how legislation is now determined by the movies politicians watch.

    The Help was total cliche bullshit.

    1. Well, it is California.

    2. So the Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights is just reparations?

    3. Maybe they should have watched The Nanny instead.

      (No, that’s not the sitcom.)

  11. I’m sure there won’t be any unintended consequences from this bill! None whatsoever. And Californians vote for these people in office then look down at the rest of us? What idiots.

  12. I wonder if there is some sort of trade group of nanny agencies behind this. It seems that a likely outcome of such regulations would be more use of agencies that directly employ the nannies so that parents can avoid the accounting and record keeping requirements.

    1. Bingo, baby. Bingo.

      1. Q: How do you get a sweet ‘lil ‘ol lady to drop the f-bomb?

        A: Get another sweet ‘lil ‘ol lady to say “Bingo!”

    2. That’s called “creating jobz”.

  13. Follow the money. You know what this does? It means people will send their kids to day care centers and hire corporate cleaning services and let them handle the paperwork. I guarantee you the Merry Maids and other services were behind this.

    1. I suspect you’re correct, John.

      1. Wow, looks like you and Zeb were thinking along the same lines.

        1. At the same time almost.

  14. Why does California hate twelve-year-old babysitters?

    1. I was concerned about the babysitter angle, too, until I read the actual text of the bill.

      “(2) “Domestic work employee” does not include any of the

      (C) Any person under 18 years of age who is employed as a
      babysitter for a minor child of the domestic work employer.”

      1. Thanks. I still didn’t RTFB, so I assume this covers all domestic employees. Not so bad, I think.

        If your domestics are working under the table now, then they will continue to do so. This just defines “Under the Table”.

        I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

      2. I would imagine there are a lot of college aged women who do baby sitting on the side in their communities. I think everybody will ignore the law in those situations but it’s still a stupid law.

        1. Silly Tron Rocks, college-aged women strip for money on the side. Just as God intended.

          1. I know plenty of college aged women who baby sit on the side for money. I’m guessing their lack of physical dexterity/dancing ability had something to do with the decision.

            1. Or the fact they were fat and unattractive.

              1. In college I was svelt and blonde, but I didn’t have much in the way of tits, so I babysat.

              2. You do realize there are chubby chasers out there? (Not that I’m one of them.)

                The way I like to think of Rule 34 is that anything you can think of has already been fetishized and commoditized.

                1. “Not that I’m one of them.”

                  How is a fat chick like a moped?

            2. What if they’re 23 and just dress like a 14 y.o.?

              1. that’s extra

          2. Maybe they do both. Are you sure the strip club doesn’t have a kids room in the back?

        2. Sure, they’ll ignore the law … until they need it as a pretext for a SWAT team raid.

      3. So if I hire the 18 year old girl who lives down the street who has been babysitting my kids for years, I now have to furnish break time and such.

        Nothing says “let’s go out” like to having to hire 2 babysitters because fucking nanny staters say so under penalty of law.

        Fuck nanny staters, and fuck California.


    PZ Myers laughs at libertarians.

    Did anyone else not like this article either?

    1. The guy says that climate change is a fact, which is about as useful as saying that night follows day. Until that buffoon can predict the temperature in the next 10/20/100 years AND also state what the effects of that temperature will be, there is no good reason to hand these people money because the science says so.

      1. Or to what extent human activity is altering the climate. No one that acknowledges an Ice Age would deny that climate change happens.

      2. I’d give $100 every day to any person who could tell me what the exact temperature is going to be tomorrow never mind 10 years from now.

        1. Tomorrow it will be 83 degrees Fahrenheit… at some point… somewhere.

          Send me my money, Bitch!

    2. If PZ’s biology was as bad as his politics, he’d be a Discovery Institute Fellow and a full-blown YEC.
      I’m always amused at how many of the outrages he reports are the result of government mis-behavior, yet he insists he wants ‘more government, lots more government’.
      I pity the fool…

      no hugs for thugs,
      Shirley Knott

    3. Of course Myers fails to respond to the only important point of the libertarian he quotes: whether or not one agrees with the majority of climatologists, climate policy is not science.

      His response is really just two big straw men. The first is that humans adapting to climate change means only we will change, while the climate gets harsher. The truth is largely the opposite. Humans no longer evolve genetically, instead we adapt our environment to our needs. But Myers is too intent on misrepresenting arguments to respond to them honestly.

      Secondly, Myers diverts the points of the last paragraph he quotes by making believe it is talking about a plan to return to the “15th century.” Then Myers gets to say “I haven’t seen anyone advocating this, so you’re wrong!” Well first of all, I have seen people advocating this, and worse. And it is not even close to representing all of the arguments of the last paragraph he quotes.

      1. Humans no longer evolve genetically, instead we adapt our environment to our needs.

        That’s fucking retarded.

        1. Perhaps more accurate would be that human genetic evolution is so slow that adapting our environment is a better strategy.

    4. That’s brilliant, because nothing wins an argument and changes your opponent’s mind more effectively than mockery and belittlement. I’ll bet that he simultaneously holds the belief that Democrats have a “messaging problem”.

      1. See “choir, preaching to.”

    5. So I’m sure PZ has a study somewhere of the interaction of the black market and restrictive economic policies, as well as some iterative model to acheive their desired goal, right? Oh wait, nobody has that. Libertarians are the only group that admit it.

    6. Why do you do this to yourself? And more importantly, why do you do this to us?

      1. Beats me. As soon as I see the word pharyngula in a link I’m done. I can find smarter, more ethical people misrepresenting my beliefs and arguments. I don’t need to go read the 3rd grade version with the clown car full of agreeers.

    7. Does scienceblogs still have any science blogs?

  16. I’m too easily outraged today to read the full text of the bill. Can anybody tell me if there is some Rube Goldberg provision that subsidizes child care for families that will inevitably be priced out of the market as a result of the very same legislation?

    1. Priced out? The cost gets accounted to my production company, and my company gets plenty of filmmaker subsidies.

      Are there still parents in California without production companies? I’ve never met any.

    2. ObamaDayCare.

  17. Maybe I missed it in the bill, but what’s stopping someone from hiring a nanny as an independent contractor and avoiding all this BS in the first place?

  18. While I find the language of all modern legal documents as nausea-inducing as the next person…I’m guessing that second section quoted (e.g. “Every employer shall, semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages…”) is in fact just a cut&paste; from the pre-existing regulations covering *all employers*/payroll organizations in the state of California, and that it likely is there to force people with documented ‘domestic workers’ to utilize the most common payroll management solutions/providers, and conform to the already-extant standards governing those groups.

    I didn’t say it wasn’t @*#($&@ ridiculous to apply this sort of thing to ‘nannies’, just that I suspect those requirements are just lifted from those already in place for ‘small business’ payrolls. What they describe is what almost everyone’s pay-stub looks like nationally.

    Its actually the (paraphrased) first part specifically addressing ‘babysitters’ that seems pretty @#$@ crazy. “provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks,? WTF? Two hours of babysitting could potentially overstrain your average californian? They need a partner on deck, like cops on a beat in case one takes a bullet…?

    I sometimes suspect california legislators whip shit like this up just so they can distract people from bigger issues like how completely broke they are.

    I do resent the fact you had to slip in the “NY did it first” bit. Yes, we are often trailblazers of Stupid.

    Californaians, however, professionalize it. And do it bigger.

  19. I got this crazy idea the other day to checkout snail farming.

    Ha. Not in this country.

    “The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Standards for Snail-Rearing Facilities were revised March 2001 and are available at…”

    1. (the APHIS crap is only the 1st layer of bullshit too.)

      1. snails are largely collected rather than farmed. If you really want to get yourself from escargot look at your or other people’s gardens. I hear out in California the citrus growers let people go onto their property to collect.

        Once you get them you keep them in a terrarium with some lettuce that they eat to flush their bodies of toxins

    2. Too bad its not U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Department (APHID).

      Having a bureacracy named after a sap-sucking parasite that will eventually destroy its host if left unchecked would be too perfect, I guess.

      1. This is probably the best thing I’ll read all week. Bravo.

      2. Having a bureacracy named after a sap-sucking parasite that will eventually destroy its host if left unchecked would be too perfect, I guess.

        The double-beauty being that their mission is to prevent the spread of sap-sucking parasites.

  20. Hey Matt-

    Shouldn’t the proper spellling of AAAARRRGGHHHH have at least a few “R”s in it?

    1. Maybe he was dictating.

  21. and for some unknown reason, the % of parents compliant with existing law just decreased. no one saw that coming.

  22. I can remember thinking that if the lefties in this country love socialism so damn much, why don’t they start up their own version of the “Free State Project”–the “Nanny State Project” or whatever.

    Then I realised: they’ve already done it. It’s called “California”.

    1. I can remember thinking that if the lefties in this country love socialism so damn much, why don’t they start up their own version of the “Free State Project”

      As I recall, the Free State Project is modeled on the lefty take over of Vermont. Unoriginal bastards.

  23. Keep in mind that this doesn’t apply to babysitters under 18.

    Still, I expect that it’s only a matter of time before Crazyfornia legislators get around to “protecting” the “poor” “children” who are “abused by Big Babysitting” which treats them like “slaves” and doesn’t “pay them enough to raise a family of four.”

  24. Reason #1086523847 why having kids is too risky.

  25. I don’t understand how some laws can get passed that are so widely anathema to EVERYONE’S quality of life, INCLUDING THE LAWMAKERS. Are they freggin crazy? Politicians are overwhelmingly family people – this bill would directly seriously affect them and give them a hassle, if and whenever it actually gets enforced. I mean what the hell are they thinking?
    Them being self-centered and self-serving would be an IMPROVEMENT at this point, because at least they wouldn’t have passed this thing that’s going to fuck them over, too.

    It’s the same way with smoking bans, I’m surprised they’ve been passed. Politicians tend to be rich, hence a lot of them own stakes in or own entirely bars, restaurants, etc. Why would they want to hit their own market? Hell, just in the smoking ban in NYC was bad for the economy in general, given that it significantly reduces people’s desire to go into NYC in the first place. Half the money going into NYC is people from Jersey and Connecticut going to bars to try to get laid. And the smokers probably do this sort of thing more and spend more money on drinks than non-smokers. It’s just totally stupid; they’re screwiung themselves over.

  26. But hey, kids in CA don’t get spending money by doing chores or babysitting. They do porn.

  27. Coyote says the new law is a great idea but doesn’t go far enough. This masterpiece belongs in print in Reason!…..-this.html

  28. Eh. Just another illustration of how stupid in the California Legislature isn’t limited to the majority party. My guess is that this is LaMalfa’s moment in the anti-immigrant sun: seems pretty obvious to me that it’s a way of keeping people from hiring illegals as nannies.

    What I don’t want to think about, however, is how LaMalfa plans to enforce it.

  29. I read this article earlier today and initially I suspected it was simply a sarcastic rant attempting to characterize the idiocy of the California state government. As I delved further into the article I realized Mr. Welch was not being a smart ass. These people are bat shit crazy.


  30. This article is quite overblown.Basically, the bill says that domestic workers employed over 30 hours must be paid minimum wage and have to be reported to the IRS. A cheap, or free, computer program satisfies reporting requirements. The crazy ones are those who leaves their kids and belongings with the poorest paid person they can find.

  31. Domestics are the poorest of the workers in the nation, left to raise our most precious children. Domestics deserve all labor rights they can get.


    1. I realize I am responding sincerely to a sarcastic comment, but freezing poorly-paid people out of jobs by discouraging employers from hiring them is a funny method of protection.

  32. as a career nanny, I think this is really stupid. I work nearly full time for a family, and they pay me hourly. They do all the nanny taxes, and I am paid just like I was on normal jobs with payroll, except of course my cheques are personal cheques. In accordance with the law, I am paid an extra hour’s wages as my no-break compensation since I am not relieved of my duties for breaks. I love that i work for meticulous people who do everything as legally as they know how (I think I was supposed to be paid some double time when I worked a few 18 hour days). This is just a waste of time. In every job I have worked, no one complained about me stopping to use the restroom when the kids were safe or eating lunch with them or while they’re sleeping. sure, I don’t get relieved every two hours, but that’s part of my line of work. adding laws that make it harder on parents just means they pay their nannies under the table and often unfair wages. the government needs to be making it easier for parents to pay their nannies legally, not harder.

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